Classic Coconut Dream Bars

Dream Bars
Diana Rattray
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Yield: 24 bars
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
156 Calories
8g Fat
19g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 156
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 11%
Saturated Fat 4g 19%
Cholesterol 26mg 9%
Sodium 60mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 23mg 2%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 61mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Chewy coconut dream bars are a delicious treat, a quick pick-me-up, and a great lunchbox snack. Packed with nutty coconut and pecans, these bars are filling and decadent, and equally perfect for a coffee break or an elegant afternoon tea. Great for holiday parties, potlucks, bake sales, or to have at hand when you need a sugar fix, these bars have a buttery shortbread crust that melts in your mouth. Ready in under one hour, you can adjust the recipe to your needs, as the pecans can be replaced by other nuts (or seeds if there are any nut allergies) or made with chocolate chips or any other sweet chips you prefer.

Our recipe bakes the coconut dream bars in two stages. First, you'll partially bake the brown sugar shortbread crust. Then you'll add the chewy, toffee-like coconut and pecan topping and bake again. The recipe is easy enough for novice bakers and just requires some attention to the oven time. Once the bars are cold you can store them at room temperature for a week, or if you want to make a bigger batch and freeze them, simply wrap them individually in parchment paper before placing them in a resealable bag in the freezer—thaw at room temperature before eating.

Ingredients

For the Shortbread Crust:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Topping:

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

  • 1 cup chopped pecans, or walnuts

  • Optional: 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, regular or mini; or milk chocolate chips

Steps to Make It

Make the Shortbread Crust

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat the oven to 350 F. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter with the brown sugar and flour until the mixture begins to hold together.

  3. Press the shortbread into an ungreased 9x13x2-inch baking pan.

  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Let the crust cool at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. Don't turn off the oven.

Make the Coconut Topping

  1. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the brown sugar, vanilla, flour, and baking powder until smooth. 

  2. Stir in the coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips, if using.

Assemble the Bars

  1. Spread the filling over the crust and bake for 20 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown. Remove and allow the bars to cool completely before cutting in your preferred shape.

  2. Enjoy!

How Can I Make Sweetened Flake Coconut?

Unsweetened coconut doesn't always work well for sweet treats. If all you have at hand is unsweetened coconut flakes, simply:

  • Make a simple syrup by bringing 4 tablespoons of water to a boil and stirring in 4 teaspoons of sugar until dissolved.
  • Add one cup of unsweetened coconut flakes to the syrup and allow the flakes to soak up the syrup for a few minutes.
  • Place the flakes in a flat layer on a baking sheet to dry slightly before using, or about 20 minutes.

Recipe Variation

  • For a thicker shortbread crust, use 1 1/2 cups of flour, 2/3 cup of brown sugar, and 10 tablespoons of softened butter.
  • Replace any amount of the chocolate chips with the equivalent of butterscotch, peanut butter, brickle, or white chocolate chips. Alternatively, see just one type of chips, or skip the chips entirely.
  • Replace the nuts for sunflower seeds or pepitas, or omit them and double up on the chocolate chips.